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Study finds Botox causes atrophy in muscles far from injection site

December 6, 2010 |

University of Calgary researchers have uncovered possible side-effects to Botox injections that could have implications on how the treatment is used both medically and cosmetically.

Botulinum toxin A, also known as Botox, is currently used to treat children with cerebral palsy because it can temporarily offer the patient more control over their muscles.

The procedure is also common in the cosmetic industry where Botox smooths out wrinkles in the face.

But research being conducted at the U of C’s kinesiology department has found that Botox doesn’t just affect the muscles it is being injected into.

Studies on rabbits found Botox can cause muscle loss and atrophy in limbs not injected with the toxin, said masters student Rafael Fortuna, lead author of a paper on these potential side-effects to be published in The Journal of Biomechanics.

“Now we have found that after about six months . . . you lose muscle mass and you lose the structural integrity of the muscle,” added kinesiology professor Walter Herzog, whose lab conducted the study.

Neither Fortuna nor Herzog discount the use of Botox as an important medical procedure, especially for children with cerebral palsy.

But they do warn that the possible long-term side-effects should be considered before any treatment is offered.

The consequences seen in the therapeutic use of Botox are also likely to occur in patients who use the toxin for cosmetic reasons, added Herzog.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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